Monday, September 07, 2020

Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring"

 I happened across this picture recently and it brought back some vivid memories.

The year was 1962 and my husband, three children and I had just moved from New York City to a very small town in upstate New York. It was a polar change and I was so looking forward to the chirping of birds instead of the ever present sounds of traffic that we'd left behind.

I remember that, once we were settled in, the children and I took a walk to acquaint us with our new surroundings. I watched the squirrels scatter away as the children ran after them and dogs, cats and all sorts of farm animals were abundant. It all seemed generic to our new life style but I sensed that something was wrong and I couldn't put my finger on it.

A few days later I was talking with one of my new neighbors and she mentioned the book that just came out. “It's written by Marine Biologist Rachel Carson” she said “and the title is Silent Spring.” BINGO … immediately I realized what had been bothering me. It WAS, just as her title said, a silent spring! What happened to the birds? How could I take a long walk in the country and not hear the chirping of them or see them either?

Evidently Carson had a friend who had a bird sanctuary on her property and, following state law, it had been sprayed with the pesticide DDT. It was after that when her friend noticed that birds were dying in large numbers and she asked Carson to help in stopping the use of DDT.

Carsons amazing book presents a powerful case and demonstrates that people were affected too by whatever affected nature. The rest is history and, despite the push back from the makers of pesticides she lived long enough to know she had made the desired impact.

Rachel Carson died from cancer in 1964, less than 2 years after the publication of “Silent Spring.”


Blogger Bonnie Jacobs said...

Thanks for sharing this story, Ginnie.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

I do remember that book and it is probably due for a reread.

6:01 PM  
Blogger Joared said...

The advent of the West Nile Virus some years sgo resulted in a significant decrease in the number of birds around here i began to notice. The losses are so gradual and then we finally notice their absence.

11:08 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I remember about the book even though I never read it. She was sure right about DDT. Bald Eagles are even making a return here, not a lot but some.

4:45 AM  
Blogger Marie Smith said...

I’d forgotten how long ago that book was written. When I began my biology degree in 1970, she was a hot topic. Fifty years ago. Good grief!

8:00 AM  
Blogger Goldendaze-Ginnie said...

From my friend Jan:

Silent Spring has been one of the most earth shaking books of our generation. If any of your readers never read it, it is never too late - read it now - or read it again.

8:36 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home